By J.J. McCoy, Senior Managing Editor for New Frontier Data
In a bipartisan effort to get members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and cooperate toward “a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy,” representatives from Alaska, California, Colorado, and Oregon, respectively, invited all House members last Thursday to join their new Congressional Cannabis Caucus.
The co-chairs include Democrats Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Jared Polis (CO-02) with Republicans Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), and Don Young (AK-At Large).
“The prohibition of cannabis has been a failure, and Americans across our nation are demanding a more sensible approach,” said Blumenauer in a Feb. 16 release. “Following the November election, federal laws are now out of step with 44 states. The time is now to come together and bring the federal government in line with the will of the American people.”
In the same letter, Rohrabacher more stridently described the federal government’s “decades-long approach to marijuana [as] a colossal, cruel joke, and most Americans know it. Not only have incalculable amounts of taxpayers’ dollars been wasted, but countless lives have been unnecessarily disrupted and even ruined by misguided law enforcement. With big-government mobilizations now widely discredited, it is time to return to the basic principles of federalism, in which the national government allows the states to determine, with their voters’ guidance, the right course to pursue. The states need friends in Congress, and the Cannabis Caucus is here to help.”
Rohrabacher notably co-sponsored a 2014 spending bill which prohibits the Justice Department from using federal money to prosecute medical marijuana businesses where legalized, which currently includes 28 states. The bill must be reapproved every fiscal year.
J.J. McCoy is Senior Managing Editor for New Frontier Data. A former staff writer for The Washington Post, he is a career journalist having covered emerging technologies among industries including aviation, satellites, transportation, law enforcement, the Smart Grid and professional sports. He has reported from the White House, the U.S. Senate, three continents and counting.